Early Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

, by Kt Clapsadl

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Dark Caravan Cycle #1

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Let's start off with what I loved. Boy was there so much in this one. The world is amazing detailed and unique. The author has created one heck of a world and storyline that is fresh and new. No stale world and creatures here. Sure, Jinni (genies) have been done before, but not like this, or at least I haven't read anything like this. All of the different world rules were intricate, and I loved seeing how everything played out with the wishes and limitations. Speaking of Jinni, I absolutely loved Nalia's character. Sure she's a bit rough around the edges and plays the pity poor me for much of the beginning, but that doesn't take too long for her to start changing and getting stronger. I loved seeing her move out of her guilt and start to work towards taking charge of her life. I see a very long and rough road, but also great things for her future. Speaking of the future, I'm really anxious to see where things lead with Raif. There's a lot of yummy potential there, and this is one of those times where I wish this wasn't written as a YA, but even so, I'm really enjoying how things are playing out in the romance department. There's plenty more little things that I loved about EXQUISITE CAPTIVE but I'll leave it here on the good category.

And now onto the not so good things. This book could have easily been a solid five star read for me if it had not of been for two glaring issues I had. First up, the somewhat relationship between Nalia and her master. I have to admit at one point I almost DNF this book due to those almost Stockholm syndrome issues. I realize Nalia was really mixed up and feeling/experiencing affection for the first time, but honestly her reactions to Malek's affections really turned my stomach, making it really hard to continue reading at points. He was utterly and completely abusive and like the typical abuser, extremely apologetic afterwards, "beating himself up" over it. And then of course Nalia plays the perfect victim and makes excuses. It just didn't sit well with me and I started massively skimming. Luckily in the overall grand scheme of things, this issue wasn't a large part of the book, and other things eclipsed it, I just had a hard time reading it while it was front and center. And now onto the other not so good thing, the flashes to the villian's perspective. Those sections were utterly horrifying, and I don't think they served any real benefit to the story. I honestly wish they hadn't of been included because they broke up the flow of the series, and were just too much in my opinion. I would have still felt the threat to Nalia without adding in those graphic sections.

So all in all, this was a very enjoyable and refreshing read. I highly recommend this to any paranormal/fantasy fans looking for a great story that's a bit different than anything else out there. Trust me, if you are looking for a solid block of entertainment, look no further than EXQUISITE CAPTIVE.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     The (YA) Bookcase
     Book Fever
     Dark Faerie Tales

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